I’m a big Facebook fan. I got my account when I was thirteen — ten whole years ago (what?!) and I’ve checked it almost every day since. I use it to connect with my friends on messenger, to find new articles to read, and even to manage a group of 5,000 blog readers. So you can only imagine how much time I waste on there every day.
Let me tell you: hours.
The amount of time I spent on Facebook didn’t seem to matter for a long time. It was a few minutes here, a few there. I would leave a window open in the background while I worked on a paper or watched a YouTube video. I was in denial about how much time I spent on Facebook, because facing the fact that I spent at least an hour or two a day on there, every day, for years, was too embarrassing to admit. But last summer, when I was working from home for the first time, it became too obvious for me to ignore.
I needed to drastically cut down Facebook time.
Over the next few months, I made three key changes that have cut down Facebook time to almost nothing for me. I’ve gone from around three hours on Facebook each day, to less than 15 minutes daily. Here’s what I did, and how you can do it, too!
Turn Off Facebook Phone Notifications
This one seems obvious, and it is. If you want Facebook to stop taking over your day, you need to stop letting it interrupt your day. That means no push notifications, no banners on your phone, and no little “ding” every time someone replies to your comment. When you do this, you take back the choice to think about and visit Facebook when you want to, instead of when the app wants you to. This makes it easier to focus on your work and enjoy your day-to-day life.
To disable Facebook phone notifications, check out the help articles below:
- Disable Facebook notifications for Android (via GuidingTech)
- Disable Facebook notifications for iPhone (via WikiHow)
- Disable Facebook notifications for Google Chrome web browser (via Facebook — instead of “turn on,” click “turn off”)
Move Your Facebook Apps to the Second Page of Your Phone
Even though I no longer get push notifications on my phone, I still do allow the little circle in the upper corner of my app that tells me how many updates I have waiting. Because I run a large Facebook group, I get a lot of Facebook notifications, so my “little red bubble” usually has between 5 and 15 updates waiting for me. I also use Facebook’s messenger app to keep in touch with most of my friends, which means that the messenger app often has up to 5 new messages waiting. And because I manage the Facebook page for College Compass and my other blogs, that’s another few notifications every day.
It didn’t take me long to realize that when these were on the first page of my phone apps, it didn’t matter whether I had push notifications on. Every time I used my phone, I saw that there were notifications waiting for me, and I would check them. I didn’t want to turn off that feature because it let me know when there was a notification for me, but seeing it all the time was interfering with my productivity.
The easy solution? I moved all my Facebook apps to the second page of my phone apps. Now, when I want to access Facebook, I need to swipe to see the second page of my apps. Then I get to see how many notifications I have.
Again, doing this puts the power back in your hands. Facebook doesn’t get to decide when you open it; you do.
Install Kill News Feed
Of the three methods that have cut down my Facebook time, this Chrome plugin has made the biggest difference. Kill News Feed is a free Chrome extension that removes your news feed from your Facebook home page. It might seem a little extreme to you; after all, what is Facebook without Newsfeed?
The answer: less of a time-suck. When you cut out your Facebook newsfeed, you can still see everyone’s posts, but you need to go to their Facebook page to see them. This has a few benefits for me:
- I don’t get distracted by posts that don’t impact my life. I love my friend Bethany, but I don’t need to see her cousin’s best friend’s wedding. Because of certain privacy settings, if Bethany is tagged in any wedding photos, I get a notification with the whole album. When I don’t see the post, I don’t lose time scrolling through a stranger’s wedding album.
- I get to avoid Facebook drama. I can’t tell you how little I care about my high school classmate’s uncle’s political opinions. Now, I don’t need to see her comments on his posts. Bonus: I don’t feel the need to get involved either.
- I stop clicking on articles that don’t matter. Whether or not your friends like TMZ or Perez Hilton or that new lipstick subscription service, Facebook ads make sure I see those pages anyway. I’m only human, so even if I don’t really care about how a former child star looks now, I still click. Then I get sucked down a rabbit hole of useless articles that a) don’t make me happy, b) don’t make me any smarter, and c) just make me feel icky when I’m done.
Essentially, I save a ton of time.
There are, of course, a few downsides. Sometimes I miss an engagement announcement or an acquaintance’s birthday, but for the people I’m close to, I always know when something big is coming up whether or not I see it on Facebook. And because I keep my timeline active on my phone, I can still scroll away to my heart’s content when I want to. But again, the choice is mine.
If you’re interested in this feature, you can install Kill News Feed for free here.
Though I still spend some time on Facebook now, these three quick steps have cut down my wasted time dramatically.
How do you cut down your social media time?